perfume ingredients

Toxic Perfume Ingredients Linked to Cancer, Sperm Damage

In a wildly unregulated system, companies are pouring potentially hazardous chemicals into many everyday scented products, including popular perfumes.


Some of the stuff that perfume makers put in their products really stinks.

Just because your favorite fragrance wasn't on the list doesn't mean it's safe. In fact, harmful perfume ingredients are used in thousands of products and are not listed on the label. It seems like you should have the right to know how these seemingly innocent perfumes and colognes are affecting your health. But unfortunately, manufacturers don't have to list warnings or even the actual ingredients used in fragrance blends, on the label.

The problem isn't limited to perfumes and body sprays. We are blasted with harmful synthetic fragrances everyday in the form of scented cleaners, hair spray and dyes, air fresheners, candles, shampoos, soaps, perfumes, and body sprays. Research is finding that many of these scented products interfere with our hormones, which regulate how our bodily systems function. Mess with that, and the risk of diabetes, some cancers, obesity, thyroid disease, and all sorts of ailments seems to increase. You may not think that all these fragranced consumer products bother you, but try giving them up for a few months—after that, you may find that being exposed to them really makes you feel lousy.

Here's how to give harmful perfume ingredients and other household fragrances the cold shoulder.

• Smell good without a toxic cloud. If you want a scented product, make sure it is scented with pure essential oils that were extracted through a cold-press process, not by using solvents. You can also visit Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database to find safer fragrances and other personal-care products.

• Look at the labels. Personal-care products must list ingredients on the label, although there is a trade secrets loophole for fragrance blends. Manufacturers can use the blanket term of "fragrance" or "parfum" on the label, but thousands of different chemicals—many petrochemical and volatile organic compounds—can hide under that description. Your best bet is to avoid any personal-care product listing these ingredients: fragrance, perfume, parfum, linalool, and limonene.

• Clean green (and save money). Isn't it ironic that we're actually polluting our homes with "cleaning" chemicals? Unlike personal-care products, cleaners and air fresheners don't have to disclose inactive ingredients, which can contain chemicals that are hazardous to our health. Stock up on tried-and-true green cleaning recipes. These homemade cleaners effectively kill germs, often using the power of white vinegar, and can save you lots of money annually.

• Light one for the bees. Put the lights out on burning fragranced candles, which are packed with hormone-disrupting chemicals and air contaminants found in car exhaust, and choose beeswax candles instead, which don't pollute, and actually improve indoor air quality by boosting negative ion levels in your home.


Published on: May 17, 2010

More from our Authors

This breakthrough information links the little-known connection between diabetes, fatigue, heart disease, weight gain, high blood pressure, and more! Click here to learn more.


The Cancer Panel report recommends that pregnant women and couples planning to become pregnant avoid exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals due to cancer concerns. These chemicals that may play a role in cancer were found in many of the fragrances analyzed for this study. "This monumental study reveals the hidden hazards of fragrances," says advisor Anne C. Steinemann, PhD, professor of civil and environmental engineering, professor of public affairs, University of


This may sound cynical, but with us being exposed to so many toxic substances, it's a surprise we're not immune by now even to illegal substances, those that fill places like Washington drug rehabilitation centers. I hear it that in Europe they might bring stuff like garlic on the illegal plant list, however when it comes to so many toxines used in cosmetics and food products they do not act.. funny thing..

it's the new reality

Once upon a time our contact with nature kept us more healthy.. apparently us humans can create a whole lot of things, but too many are harmful.. and there are so many that are under controversy, some that are promoted as being healthy by some and unhealthy by others... legal by some and illegal by others, like Cannabis Seeds UK for example. That's the problem with perfumes too, they contain ingredients that haven't convinced everybody that they are safe.. some allow them to be used in production while others shout that they shouldn't be used.. the safest way would be not to use them.. but it has been decided by producers that the safest way is not to tell that they have been used...

Allergy ?

I think perfumes have a lot of substances with allergen potential. In fact, in the spring a lot of allergies are determined by the level of the pollen and the smells from the air. The perfumes are artificially made and this could be a similar problem for the people. You must test the best perfume for your skin and your health. Best regards, Mike from asigurare rca ieftin

Perfumes and Air Freshners

It is about time the subject of toxic perfumes and so called air freshners(actually air pollutants) are being exposed! There are so many people out there who have sensitivities to these chemicals and just don't know it because they don't have the usual sneezing and wheezing symptoms. People don't associate other reactions (body aches, lethargy, etc) with chemical issues from artificial scents. I just can't understand why so many people still spend tons of money on these products thinking that they smell "good" when they are destroying their bodies organs and creating problems for themselves and others around them. Do they just want to make the chemical companies richer and the celebrities who indorse them richer while the user gets sicker? I wouold support an all out campaign for doing away with chemical scents in every work place just like the ban on cigarettes. Let's get to a point where we can expose the causes of cancer and not have to worry about finding a cure, but instead find the cause and eliminate it!

Scent free and happy!

D & G Light Blue

What was in Light Blue- It has been my personal favorite for some time and I would relly like to know!

Start Your Wellness Journey!
Sign up for updates on Rodale Wellness and get your FREE wellness journal to help you find your path to vibrant health. Click here to start your unique journey!

Free Newsletter
Sign up for our FREE newsletters to stay up to date on all of our wellness news.

  The Daily Fix
Useful news and practical tips to help you live a healthy life on a healthier planet.

  Wellness in Action
Find your path to vibrant health, and get your free wellness journal as our thanks!

You may unsubscribe at any time.

Your Privacy Rights. About Us.